How to Tell if My Septic System Is Frozen

How to tell if my septic system is frozen

Anyone who deals with Iowa harsh winters and has a septic tank should know that when temperatures drop, conditions can lead to a frozen septic tank. If you’re encountering this problem for the first time and are not sure if weather is the culprit— there are a few tell-tale signs that may help you solve the mystery.

Symptoms Your Septic System Is Frozen

  • First up is the toilet. With a frozen system, the functionality of the toilet is removed, and it won’t flush. Obviously, this is a problem.
  • None of the sinks in the home are going to drain. This includes the bathroom, kitchen, or a sink you may have in the garage. With a frozen septic tank, the drains are in essence “clogged” with ice.
  • The washing machine water line is not going to work. Bathtubs and showers (as well as the sinks) are not going to drain.

Situations that Cause a Frozen Septic Tank

While the following are not symptoms of a frozen system, they are some of the reasons that lead to the symptoms listed above. Check the area where your septic system is located to help avoid freezing and failed septic tanks:

  • Freezing will occur for homes with a septic system line in the ground that is too shallow.
  • If the septic line is above or too close to the frost level for the ground, expect freezing.
  • Compacted soil covering a septic line can lead to freezing because this soil type allows freezing temperatures to go deeper into the ground. If your line is in this zone, it is prone to freezing.
  • Septic systems need to be insulated to help keep the lines warm. Insulation can include grass, vegetation and especially snow. An insulated line tends to stay warm and is better able to deal with freezing temperatures. If the insulation is too thin or non-existent, a failed septic system is probable.
  • When you’re in residence, the daily use of the septic system “heats” the septic line. If your home is a vacation or second home and no one is in residence, lack of or infrequent use means minimal heat resulting in another reason the system will freeze.
  • If you have a continuous water source feeding the line (such as a leaking faucet or condensation from a furnace draining into the system), ice can build up.
  • A septic line that isn’t pitched properly or a line that travels through low spots can freeze because water cannot exit the line.

If you’re in a situation where your septic system is frozen, its time to call APlus Septic Pumping to thaw it out. Our team of professionals have the experience, tools, knowledge, and know-how to fix a problem using safe and efficient techniques. We cater to both residential and industrial properties. We also offer FREE estimates. Call us today 319-233-3695 for prompt and effective service at your doorstep.